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Science Indicator 3
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Science Indicator 3


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This is an activity for students to complete on dissecting owl pellets.

This is an activity for students to complete on dissecting owl pellets.

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  • 1. What does an Owl Eat? By Lynsey Wilkie
  • 2. Science Standard 4- The Living Environment
      • 6.4.1- Explain that one of the most general distinctions among organisms is between green plants, which use sunlight to make their own food, and animals, which consume energy-rich foods.
      • Taken from-
      • Link to Activity-
  • 3. Definitions
    • Owl pellet- regurgitated material that an owl cannot digest.
    • Prey- an animal hunted or seized for food, esp. by a carnivorous animal.
    • Predator- any organism that exists by preying upon other organisms.
    • Food chain- the chain from a food source to the ultimate consumer.
  • 4. Materials
    • Owl pellets
    • Vole Transparency
    • Recycled egg carton
    • Toothpicks
    • Large white glue
    • Aluminum foil
    • 5" X 8" index card, no lines
    • Fine black felt tip marker
    • Owl Research Notes student sheet
  • 5. Questions for Discussion
    • Have you ever been camping at night?
    • What sounds did you hear?
    • Were you afraid?
    • What do you know about owls?
    • What species of owls live in our area?
    • What species live in North America?
  • 6. Pre-Activity Research
    • What does an owl eat?
      • Research and make a list of possible food sources for an owl that might live in a local ecosystem.
      • Can you estimate the number of small mammals an owl might eat in one day? How about one week?
      • Is an owl harmful or helpful to man? How?
  • 7. Recreating a Skeleton
    • You and your partner get one owl pellet between the 2 of you.
    • Unwrap the owl pellet from the aluminum foil.
    • Carefully tease the bones from the fur using toothpicks.
    • Sort the bones into sections of egg cartons for safe storage and future classification.
      • Be sure to label the top of the egg carton with the your names and class.
    • Students should use the vole skeleton model to arrange the bones on a large index card.
    • Glue the bones in place and label them.
    • Draw any bones that may be missing with a fine tip black marker.
  • 8. Product http:// This is an example of what the skeleton reconstruction might look like after dissecting the owl pellet
  • 9. Post-Activity
    • Write about the following questions:
      • Analyze the bone structure of the skeleton, and try to identify the small mammal that was eaten by the owl to survive.
      • List all food possibly eaten by that small mammal for energy.
      • Where does the energy in the food come from?
      • What happens to the energy when the owl dies?
    • Construct a food web for the ecosystem using words or pictures.
  • 10. Resources
    • Activity-
      • http:// /browse
    • Product Example